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Should We Increase Registration Fees for SUVs? And Other Things Being Debated In Colorado’s 2024 Legislative Session

CEO Khai Intela
It’s early days in Colorado’s 2024 legislative session, but there are already several bills on the table that promise to ignite spirited debates. As the Colorado General Assembly convenes for its 120-day session, let's take...

It’s early days in Colorado’s 2024 legislative session, but there are already several bills on the table that promise to ignite spirited debates. As the Colorado General Assembly convenes for its 120-day session, let's take a closer look at some of the key issues that state legislators will be tackling.

Taxing Short-Term Rentals Like Hotels

Denver Democrat Chris Hansen is set to introduce legislation that aims to raise taxes on properties used as short-term rentals for more than 90 days each year. The bill would reclassify certain short-term rentals as lodging properties, subjecting them to a property tax rate of 27.9 percent—quadrupling taxes for some property owners. The intention is to target investors who buy large portions of housing stock and rent them out exclusively on a short-term basis. Supporters argue that this will help communities address the housing crisis, while opponents view it as an attack on the free market.

Fully Funding Education

One area that enjoys bipartisan support in the 2024 session is the push to fully fund Colorado's schools and eliminate the budget stabilization factor. This factor, implemented during the Great Recession, has resulted in a $10 billion reduction in state funding to school districts over the past 14 years. The 2023 School Finance Act, signed into law last year, aims to repeal this factor by July 1, 2024. With Governor Jared Polis proposing an additional $564 million in funding for education, legislators must now pass a budget that supports this commitment to fully funding public and charter schools.

The Land-Use Debate is Coming Back to the Capitol

Last year, Governor Polis presented a comprehensive land-use bill aimed at creating statewide affordable housing. While the bill didn't make it across the finish line, there are indications that it will return in smaller, separate pieces this year. Possible legislation may include removing parking requirements for new construction, lifting occupancy limits on certain residences, incentivizing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and implementing region-specific plans to address urgent housing needs. There is also bipartisan support for reforming the "construction defect" laws that hinder condo development and impact the affordable housing market.

Getting One Step Closer to a Front Range Rail

Transportation remains a key focus in the Colorado legislature, with efforts to establish a rail system along the Front Range gaining traction. Senator Steve Fenberg, representing Boulder County, is introducing a bill that aims to position Colorado favorably for federal funding to realize this long-awaited rail system from Pueblo to Fort Collins. This visionary project aims to enhance connectivity and reduce congestion in the region.

In addition, another transportation bill on the agenda involves increasing registration fees for vehicles over 3,500 pounds, primarily SUVs and trucks, to fund multimodal safety projects. However, this proposed legislation would only apply to the state's 12 largest counties.

As the legislature gathers to tackle these critical issues, expect passionate debates, differing opinions, and compromises along the way. Keep an eye on the outcomes, as they will shape Colorado's future.

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